Massachusetts Supreme Court Rejects Long-Term Video Surveillance of Residents’ Homes

August 6, 2020

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled this week that the Massachusetts Declaration of Rights protects the right to privacy in the areas around one's home from warrantless pole camera surveillance over several months. The court held that residents are constitutionally protected against extended surveillance when, "in the aggregate, [it] expose[s] otherwise unknowable details of a person's life." The court also refused to make privacy rights "contingent upon an individual's ability to afford to install fortifications and a moat around his or her castle." The court cited Commonwealth v. Connolly, which declared that Massachusetts residents have a right to be free from warrantless GPS surveillance under the Declaration of Rights. EPIC filed a friend of the court brief in Connolly. EPIC regularly files briefs in cases that involve emerging privacy and civil liberties issues.

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